Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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Every moment of every day, we are faced with this simple choice: to do good or to do evil. We all know what good and evil are.  I don’t care what religion, political party or culture you come from, human beings innately know the difference between good (being loving, kind and compassionate toward others) and evil (using, abusing and hurting others).  While people will use religion and culture to justify evil behavior, that doesn’t make their behavior any less evil.

The only way to truly be happy is to train yourself to do good as often as you possibly can. The problem is that doing good is sometimes hard.  For instance, there are some people I would prefer not to deal with.  These people may be crass or loud or otherwise annoying.  But to be a good person, I have to interact kindly with these people.  I can’t avoid them or be rude to them.  And sometimes I don’t feel like going the extra mile for others.  I’m either tired, or I just would prefer to sit and read a good book with my free time.  But part of doing good in this world is serving others.  So doing good isn’t always convenient.  Or fun.

But the payback for regularly doing good is that you become a better person. We are what we do on a consistent basis.  We don’t become better individuals simply by making one good choice.  So if I choose to be habitually snotty and rude, then I am a snotty and rude person.  That is true, even if I occasionally am nice.  Conversely, if I choose to be kind and generous most of the time, then I am a kind and generous person.

There is a snowball effect to doing good. The kinder I am each day, the better I become as a person.  And when I am kind, my world improves.  I have fewer conflicts with others.  People respond more positively to me, so I have more friends.  And typically, people want to help nice people, so I have more opportunities.  Most importantly, when I look in the mirror in the morning, I like the person who is staring back at me.

The challenge for many of us is that we don’t like to think in terms of good and evil. We like to delve into the various shades of gray when we assess our choices.  “Well, if she didn’t do X, then I wouldn’t have done Y.”  Or, “I was tired/overwhelmed/hungry, so that is why I was rude and disrespectful.”  Or, “I’m unhappy, so I made bad choices that hurt people.”  The best thing you can do for yourself is to take a “no excuses” approach to your behavior and hold yourself accountable.  Your behavior is either right or wrong.  The context is irrelevant.

It is worth it to periodically asses your behavior. Ask yourself, “Am I choosing to do good at every opportunity?”  “Do I treat others with gentleness and respect?”  “Am I trustworthy?”  “Do I go the extra mile for others?”  Scrutinize your behavior.  Life is short.  At the end, you will want to be able to look back and say, “In my life, I chose to do good.”

(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

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